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Hi-lighting Invisible Grills

 
 
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Posted 01/10/2019   12:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Gordo65 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hello everyone...I have a supposedly Scott #137 6 cent lite carmine Lincoln.. I think I see a partial grill but not sure even though the dealer had circled in lite pencil where the grill is. What's the best way to hi-lite very faint grills, if its there at all. Thanks
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Posted 01/10/2019   1:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stallzer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I recommend dipping in lighter fluid then placing on a black background or holding it up to a light.
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Posted 01/10/2019   1:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add littleriverphil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Bright light, from the side, shinning across the stamp.
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Edited by littleriverphil - 01/10/2019 1:40 pm
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Posted 01/11/2019   08:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ClassicPhilatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Gordo65,
Stallzer's recommendation is good here. With this issue we don't need to specifically count the points to determine if it has a grill or not, and I've seen plenty of the 1869 pictorials that have really evasive grill impressions.
One thing to note about dipping the stamp (and while many will say "lighter fluid" I am more specific with Ronsonol, as I've seen some other brands that aren't as refined yield changes in paper color) or specialized "watermark fluids" which are more expensive, harder to source, but if you're really unsure and paranoid about dipping a stamp, you can get them). Stallzer mentions placing it on a black background, but if you're new to dipping stamps there are 2 phases that you want to observe, and a slight grill points may be evident in either.

The first phase is, having it face down in fluid. I can't stress enough, have no fear with the fluid, or the amount you use. I've seen some barely get the stamp fiber damp and it won't reveal everything there is to know about it. Make sure it's at list a thin film over the stamp back. You can observe it, move it around in the fluid, cast some light at different angles. If there are points there, you may see them as bright "reflections" of the light you have around it (even 1 or 2). If you don't see that, then move on to the next phase.
Take it out of the fluid, and rest it on the edge of your dip tray. Watch it while the fluid evaporates. (You can speed this along a bit by pressing the stamp lightly between sheets of a small pad of paper. This is just to remove the "excess" fluid, and it will dry faster.
In this phase you're watching for what we call the "flash".
The flash will be when the stamp starts to turn white. (keep it face down). Faults in the stamp (including grill points) become more obvious during this phase. Some pressed out creases (including grills) are often evident only during the flash phase of a stamp dip.
Use a VERY powerful light. You almost can't go overboard on this. I use a handheld tactical flashlight for close up examinations, some strong LED lamps may be good as well. I have strong flood light mounted overhead which I use to examine through paper with, but the tactical flashlight is great for side lighting.
If that still doesn't work for you, I have a more advanced technique both others yelled at me here before for introducing it "too early" in the ID phase.
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Posted 01/11/2019   09:56 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Gordo65 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
OK Thanks for the info...I appreciate you guys responding to my question. One other thought...does the value of the stamp increase with the clarity of the grill?
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Posted 01/11/2019   11:05 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stamperix to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I use very low light LED only very little over the desk shining oblique over the stamp. Then you can take a photo and work with the photo in any graphics software. With the stamp in watermark fluid I never get this kind of light working.

About the value of the stamp, this would also be of interest for me. In my opinion the quality of the grill does not change the stamp value like the general quality of the stamp. But if we think about this logically, all those grading services would have to take the grill quality into their grading system (or do they?). In the opposite thinking, a grill damages the stamp quite much, so a faint grill would improve the stamp quality :). Looking forward to reading what others will say.
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Posted 01/11/2019   11:50 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add essayk to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If a stamp is supposed to have a grill, then being able to see the grill is a plus; but not if the stamp has to be altered in order to make that happen. A premium grill is well impressed with clearly discernible points throughout its range. If there was something irregular about the grill itself, such as splitting, doubling, truncated impression, that can make it an object of study and hence more desirable.

The claim that rubbing graphite to "enhance" or "highlight" the grill will improve it is, frankly, without merit, since it necessarily alters the original state after normal usage. Modified stamps are no longer in original state, and so are degraded. Collectors vary in their willingness to tolerate such alteration. In the end it is a question of balance; i.e. a sloppy job is worth less than a controlled minimalist one. In my opinion it is best to avoid alteration wherever possible. When in doubt, get the opinion of an expert before taking matters into your own hands. Erasing a graphite deposit does not "undo" the fact that it was applied. It merely attempts to hide the alteration.
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Posted 01/11/2019   12:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ClassicPhilatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I only recommend graphite for used stamps.
It's just as common to see catalog numbers or other various markings in pencil on back of used stamps, and does not affect their certification/grading for USED stamps. Never apply anything to gum.
The graphite on the points of a grill is no more an alteration than that of a pencil mark of a catalog number. And that said, as a dealer, expertizer and collector, I always remove them. I like my stamp backs clean, even when used. But they are not permanent or altering when done correctly.
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Posted 01/11/2019   12:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add essayk to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
But they are not permanent or altering when done correctly.


I understand what you are claiming, but it is false (no offense intended).

If an original grill did what it was supposed to do, i.e. break the paper fibers where impressed, then once some particles of graphite get in there, no amount of rubbing is going to get them all out again. At the micro level they leave their tell tale marks.

But as I said, collectors vary in how much alteration of "original state" as received they will tolerate. Few collector's will have the interest or ability to study fiber structure, but for someone trying to research the grills to learn something new, altered stamps are not good enough.

There is almost no end to the number of ways collectors down through the years have altered and abused their material and left it for us. In the truest sense, once it has been done that fact can't be undone, and should be fessed up for the sake of the next guy or gal. Until you have exhausted all alternatives, including the help/services of others, you really shouldn't do it. (That plea usually falls on deaf ears among the dollar driven.)


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Posted 01/11/2019   1:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ClassicPhilatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
But, if we take the notion that a cancellation is a fault, then a little graphite on the back of a grill isn't going to be a bigger fault then a cancellation on the face of the stamp.
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Posted 01/11/2019   2:48 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add essayk to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
if we take the notion that a cancellation is a fault,


The rules for the collection, care, and handling of used stamps are not identical to the rules for unused stamps in many aspects.

Calling cancellations "faults" is not a viable position to take wrt collectable used stamps. Cancellations are the normal state for that class of collectable, and are sometimes subject to fakery and alteration of themselves. So unless graphite was used in the production of the cancellation, it's presence would be anomalous.
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Edited by essayk - 01/11/2019 2:49 pm
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